This is Kevin Nitcheu!
Kevin is 25 y/o and from Douala, a city in the South of Cameroon. He moved to Montreal when he was 18 and is the oldest of five kids. He started university in mathematics and physics back in Cameroon, right before he got his visa to move to Canada. He decided to pursue his studies in industrial design once he got here.
Kevin has been working in the hospitality industry for 7 years. He started as a dishwasher and worked his way up. After a couple jobs back of the house, he got promoted as a food runner back. He then realized he really enjoyed serving people and decided to keep working front of the house.
When he was working at the Burgundy Lion (One of Montreal’s top whiskey bars), he started as a busser and was quickly promoted as a server. It was then that he started to have an interest at the bar. Jean-Michel, one of the owners, suggested him to buy cocktail books so that he could work at the bar, which he did. Kevin discovered a new passion for cocktails and has decided to focus his energy on learning more about this trade. He started to ask questions, to talk to mixologists, to visit cocktail bars in the city to taste and learn. We should also mention that he developed a passion for cocktail books, he has quite a collection at home! Today, Kevin is part of two bar teams in Montreal: Bar Geaorge and The Coldroom.
What Kevin likes most about bartending is to be the showman. He likes to put on a show, to throw a couple cocktails and stir the curiosity of his guests; to build stories around what he serves.
What he likes least about bartending is when the very high level of stress brings out verbally abusive and violent behaviours between workmates. He likes the stress, but not the yelling.
One advice he would offer to people starting in this business is to not be afraid to learn and to ask question. He added another one that is quite basic but often forgotten: do not drink too much when you are at work!
Today, Kevin started Okapi Mtl, a service of pre-mixed craft cocktails that are delivered to your doorstep. To him, this is the first step to eventually open his own bar, which is what he is working towards.
For his cocktail creation, click here !
And a little bit more about him…
The three words that describe him best are –
perfectionist / solution-oriented / social
Life Moto –
Never give up. To always believe in yourself to always question yourself also. This is how you learn, from yourself and from others.
The most magical place he ever visited –
The top of Mont-Royal. He went up there for the first time last year. It was the second snow storm of Winter. Everything was white and bright and full of lights and it was magical.
The quality he likes most about a client –
His biggest strength at work –
Fun fact about Kevin –
He was afraid of animals, particularly dogs, up until his early 20’s. One day, he was sitting at Parc Lafontaine and a big great Dane came up running to him. He got scared and as he started to run away, he fell to the ground. This became a running joke between him and his friends and from there on he started to normalize and accept this fear.